/Film Featured in the New York Times

New York TimesThe Wednesday edition of The New York Times has an article by David Halbfinger on the MPAA and the “racy or graphic” red band movie trailer, which includes two paragraphs about /Film. We’re extremely honored to be mentioned in the Nation’s newspaper of record! I highly recommend reading Halbfinger’s article at this link, but here is the gist and then our story.

Backstory

The MPAA is trying to make Hollywood change the way the distribute movie trailers online. While most movie trailers begin with a green band graphic, which signifies that the trailer adheres to the standards for motion picture advertising outlined by the MPAA, which includes limitations on foul language and violent, sexual, or otherwise objectionable imagery. Trailers that do not adhere to these guidelines may be issued a red band, and may only be shown before an R-rated, NC-17-rated, or an unrated movie. However, the red band trailers have not been shown theatrically since 2000.

And while you would at first believe that a red band trailer would be stuffed to the brim with graphic language, violence and sex to appeal to the lowest common denominator, that is not usually the case. If something is not PG, it’s not allowed in a green band trailer. Yes, even a pg-13 joke is not permitted. Imagine trying to cut a joke from an r-rated movie into a green band trailer, trying to cut around a swear or two? It’s not easy. The most recent example is the Knocked Up Red Band Trailer. It’s actually not too different from the theatrical green band counterpart. There is some drug use, some bad words, and some sex humor. I would say that watching an episode of South Park would probably be worse on a young teenager.

Age VerificationThe red band trailers out on the web today are now protected by an age verification log-on. But the system is more flawed than the entry page of a pornographic website which asks the internet user if they are over 18 years of age. Truth is, any ten year old kid could enter their parents information into the web form. But the real problem is that the system is servilely flawed. I’m not even in the system. And I’ve heard complaints from more than a few people that are legally (way) over the MPAA suggested age of 18-years-old, but are still unable to access the trailer by entering their legit information. How can this be? The MPAA is making the potential movie-goers jump through hoops in order to see an advertisement which might convince someone to buy a ticket. In an age where the MPAA is worried about Piracy and home entertainment, there is a huge value of allowing the studios to reach their respective audiences.

Our Story

/Film came into the picture because when you search “Red Band Movie Trailer” on Google, we were the top result. Why? Because we were offering “unfettered access” to a couple red band movie trailers. You would think being the top search result on Google for anything would bring heap-loads of traffic, but normal people don’t search “red Band Movie Trailers” on Google, trust me – I know this to be fact. Anyway, /Film was the top result for the search term for many months, even though the MPAA claim they search the web daily to remove such clips from public viewing.

Apparently they don’t use Google. And truth be told, /Film is frequented by people from every major movie studio (we can tell this from our server logs). Los Angeles is our biggest market in the world for web traffic. Not one studio has ever e-mailed us with concern of removing a red band movie trailer from public viewing. It’s advertising their movies. They like advertising. It’s good.

That is, until 30 minutes after I spoke with The New York Times. The MPAA ordered Sony to have me remove the Superbad Red band trailer. And I did without fuss. I even preemptively removed other redband movie trailers from the site. While the MPAA is not a government entity, it is an organization in which most of the major movie studios are members of. Being a member means you need to abide by their rules and regulations. So Sony reluctantly requested that I remove a video advertising one of their future films. How ridiculous is that?

Again, we’re glad to be featured in the Newspaper of record. It’s an honor to even be mentioned.

But the system is extremely flawed at best, and prevents target audiences from seeing an advertisement which more accurately represents the film. How can you accurately advertise a movie like Hostel without showing an ounce of blood? Any little kid could easily google murder and see real violent photos (yes, a joke used in Knocked Up) or even, gasp, pornography. It should be the parents job to monitor their children’s browsing habits and restrict inappropriate content through filters and software. But the MPAA thinks they can help babysit the internet, and makes it harder for everyone. And I’m a bit miffed that some adult webgoers like myself are left without access, while others are asked to jump through hoops to see a movie trailer.

So we’ve decided to do this… How To Gain Access To Red Band Trailers. Enjoy!

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